Brazilian Lime Tart
Torta de limão is a special treat found in the cafés of Brazil. Lime juice adds a tangy citrus flavor to the rich, sweet filling. Then it is topped with a thick meringue that is baked until crunchy. Make these up into individual servings for each guest, or use the recipe for a full tart or pie.
Yield: 8, 3-inch tarts or 1, 10-inch pie
Preparation time: 1 hour
Baking time: 20 minutes
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons whole milk
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup crème de leite or media crema*
Juice of 5 limes (about 1/3 cup)**
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Lime zest for garnish
Place the flour, butter, sugar and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the butter is incorporated into the flour in small pea-sized pieces. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse until a dough begins to form. The dough should hold together when you squeeze it between your fingers.
Form the dough into a ball, and cover in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll until it is about ¼ inch thick. Cut circles to fit into greased mini-tart pans or transfer to a greased 9-inch pie plate. Press the dough into the sides of the pan. Poke holes into the bottom of the crust with a fork.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is firm and barely browned on the edges. Let cool for 10 minutes.
While the crust cools, whisk the sweetened condensed milk, crème de leite and lime juice in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour the filling into the tart shell(s).
Using a double boiler, stir the egg whites and sugar together in the top bowl. Heat over medium and stir continuously until the sugar completely dissolves and an opaque syrup forms, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the syrup to a cold bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Place the meringue in a piping bag and decorate the tart with the meringue, covering all of the filling.
Bake for 5 to 7 minutes to harden and brown the meringue. Garnish with lime zest. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and serve cold.
*Canned crème de leite or media crema can be found in the Latin or Hispanic food section of most supermarkets and in international food markets.
**We recommend using lemons and limes from Paramount Citrus. They are consistently fresh and juicy and available at most major grocery, mass and club retailers.